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RAND researchers have conducted a successful proof-of-concept demonstration for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of two new methods for science and technology (S&T) planning. These methods — HyperForum, a facilitated Web-based collaborative exercise, conducted in a carefully crafted, information-rich, online environment, and Exploratory Modeling, a new approach to generating systematic, quantitative comparisons among alternative policy decisions without relying on imperfect predictions of the future — exploit new information technologies in order to: improve the quality of the S&T planning process by using online computer-assisted decision-support tools that (1) make relevant information more easily available to expert panelists meeting over the World Wide Web, and (2) help panelists include and compensate for the effects of uncertainty by treating an S&T plan as a portfolio of technology investments hedged against a wide range of plausible futures; provide a lasting electronic archive of the expert discussions and other information that go into building an S&T plan; lower the travel-related costs and scheduling constraints of the current planning process by supplementing face-to-face expert panel meetings with asynchronous meetings over the World Wide Web. This documented briefing describes that demonstration. It should be of interest to decisionmakers responsible for choosing, managing, and justifying portfolios of science and technology research projects in the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, and in the private sector. In addition, it should be informative to those readers interested in how new information technologies can provide new methods for planning and decisionmaking under uncertainty. Readers interested in viewing the Web site described in this documented briefing are invited to e-mail one of the authors: lempert@rand.org or bonomo@rand.org.

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Introduction

  • Section 2: Task 1: Create Web Site with Specialized Tools and Content

  • Section 3: Task 2: Convene Expert Panels

  • Section 4: Task 3: Conduct Exploratory Modeling Exercise

  • Section 5: Conclusions

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